The 2011 NBA Finals is going to go a long way in determining the destiny of a few people...
You can bet that the 12 guys on this list have the heat cranked up a little bit more than usual. Disagree? Got a better list? Bring it.
Tyson Chandler is the sports car that you thought you were getting if you turned 16. You turned 16 and Dad gave you his two-seater bucket truck with a camper and a driver side window that sticks when you slam it too hard.
It's dependable though. When you turn 18, you're passing the truck down to your little brother.
Chandler needs a ring to be seen as a guy who can be a mainstay on an NBA team and not just a big body who has a chronic toe.
Howard is the only member of Michigan's Fab Five left playing in the NBA.
When not picking his jaw off the ground wondering why Chris Webber called that last timeout in the 1993 NCAA championship, he's coming off of the bench for the Heat giving some quality minutes.
Juwan's is desperate for a ring. Besides, if he wins, it will be the only championship not vacated during 1992-98 for Michigan basketball. Also, he'd be in good company with Glen Rice, a UM former baller who got his ring with the Lakers in 2000.
Peja is desperate for a ring because his last real shot was ended by the Lakers in 2002, during a classic but controversial series marred by allegations of corruption.
Think he isn't ready for redemption?
I'd bet on it...
Jason Terry needs a ring for no other reason to claim his nickname "JET" from Kenny Smith. In winning a title, he can join a select group who have won an NBA and NCAA championship (Arizona, 1997).
He can also once again prove that being traded from the Atlanta Hawks is the best career move any NBA player can make.
Terry's last NBA Finals game was a Game 6 underwhelming performance against the Heat in 2006. The line? 7-25 from the field and 2-11 from three-point range.
Chris Bosh is goofy. Good guy, quiet, silent leader, but an enigma and a matchup nightmare. My personal X-factor in this series is desperate for a ring and some respect.
I think 10 years from now, Bosh will be a borderline Hall of Famer. I think he will need a ring to help him get in. If the Heat don't approach six titles a la the Jordan-led Chicago Bulls, Bosh is going to look like the extra wingman who gets in the way when you're out trying to pick up digits on the town.
Wade is desperate for a ring because:
1) He needs to prove 2006 wasn't a fluke.
2) He can prove he can win without Shaq.
3) He can prove that he can win with LeBron.
4) So he can have one to put in each ear and avoid Charles Barkley calling to add him to his favorite five.
Carlisle is desperate for a ring so people can stop calling out "CABLE GUY" or wonder whether a flock of penguins are going to follow him to press conferences.
Carlisle has been snakebit more than a few times as a coach. As an assistant coach for the Pacers in 2000, he was beat out by Isiah Thomas for a job after Larry Bird stepped down.
He had issues with management in Detroit a few years later as their head coach after two back to back 50-win seasons and got fired. Unfortunately, he's most known as the coach of the Pacers in 2004 during the Palace of Auburn Hills brawl.
Carlisle is a man looking for redemption and he might be due.
Funny that an owner would get on this list. Consider though Mark Cuban, his ego and drive to win. The ultimate Maverick could go a long way in getting over 2006, where he was very critical about the officiating the in the series.
If you really want to talk about juice, also consider the run he would get from winning. How great would it feel for him to be able to bring a title to Dallas, something Jerry Jones hasn't been able to do since 1995?
You better believe he wants a ring. Wouldn't you love to see him in a shirt during the parade that says "I shot J.R.?"
Erik Spoelstra could be the next Phil Jackson, or the next Stan Van Gundy depending on who you follow. He looks like a champion, acts like a champion, but we don't know if he can coach like a champion.
He has at least two, arguably three Hall of Famers in Wade, James and Bosh. You kind of get that feeling that he was brought in just to not screw anything up. We all know how that tends to work out...
In a series of this magnitude, mistakes get amplified and coaching could be the difference. Spoelstra needs a ring to convince us that he's been more than a glorified sock puppet being controlled by Pit Boss "Henson hands" Pat Riley.
Could the third time be the charm for Kidd? He's played the most playoff games of any active player who has not won an NBA title. This is his third Finals, and frankly his time to seperate himself from John Stockton, Karl Malone and Allen Iverson as modern peers who failed to win a title.
Kidd's 2001-02 season with the New Jersey Nets is one of the finest all-around seasons for a point guard. His run now in Dallas could help push him over the top.
Dirk needs a ring because he too remembers the choke job he was part of in the 2006 Finals against the Heat.
Whether he is a top 10 all-time player is a conversation for another day. He is however one of the best active players never to win a title.
Winning a ring moves us more to the conversation of where Dirk fits among the greatest, and less from trying to determine if European soccer or basketball players flop more.
If Dirk finds a way to beat the Heatles, Warsteiner will be short supply on the streets of Dallas.
Come on. You knew he would be first. Can I get a witness? Sure I can, we all will be witnesses in the next few days. It's clear that LeBron James has the most to lose if he fails to win an NBA Title against Dallas.
Win, and he can validate "The Decision", be on the way to having a legitimate conversation about best player ever, and shut up guys like me who like you, but can't openly root for you because you haven't won anything.
Lose LeBron, and we get to have this same song and dance for the next calendar year, we put you closer to Karl Malone than Michael Jordan, and the public continues to wonder when you will ever get out of your swaddling clothes and claim the throne that your people has prepared us for.
This should be one interesting series.